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Campfires are an essential part of the camping experience. Whether you’re visiting your favorite state park or local BLM land for free camping, everyone loves relaxing by the fire. However, many places don’t let people bring their own firewood. If you’re headed to a national park or state park, you should know the rules beforehand.
You can bring firewood into a state park, but most parks kindly ask you to buy it locally. Firewood brought from other places can bring pests and spread seeds foreign to the land. Furthermore, it promotes overgrowth in local forests since the wood isn’t being used, which can lead to wildfires.
In this post, we’ll discuss where you can get firewood at a state park, whether or not you can collect it locally, and if all of them let you burn campfires throughout the year. By the end of this breakdown, you’ll feel confident about firewood regulations in all of this country’s lovely parks!
Why Shouldn’t You Bring Firewood to a State Park?
You shouldn’t bring firewood to a state park because it invites insects who will infest the local forest and spread diseases, eat the plants, and drastically impact the environment. Instead, find a firewood store within 10 to 50 miles of your campsite to prevent foreign bugs, seeds, and other debris from entering the park.
Let’s explain the details of what happens when you don’t get local firewood below.
- Bringing firewood from far away can bring bugs that will eat everything in sight. According to Don’t Move Firewood, many insects will hang onto the firewood you bring. While they might not cause harm to some parks, others can get infested and filled with wood-eating bugs that ruin the environment.
- Not buying local firewood can lead to an overgrowth of trees since they won’t be chopped down as often. Local companies rely on campers to buy firewood. If they don’t, there’s no reason for them to cut the trees. When the trees aren’t cut, the woods experience overgrowth and can lead to forest fires.
- Firewood can spread seeds and add invasive plants to the state park. Invasive plants can steal the oxygen, soil, and nutrients intended for local plant life. This process only takes a few years to cause long-lasting devastation to forests and parks. Local firewood doesn’t have foreign seeds since it’s from the nearby environment.
- Some firewood has diseases that can harm the forest. Wood diseases can ruin large portions of forests. They’re noticeable by their discoloration, corrosion, and infestations of various bugs. While you shouldn’t bring firewood from elsewhere, never use it from any place that has signs of diseases.
- Firewood from other locations might not be heat-treated, which means it’ll burn quickly and cause a lot of smoke. Heat-treated firewood is ideal for longevity purposes. If your firewood isn’t treated, you’ll need a lot of it to keep a campfire going. Local campgrounds and state parks often treat their wood for campfires.
There are many more reasons you shouldn’t bring firewood from elsewhere. However, there are loads of locations to buy firewood that’s locally sourced and ready to go. In fact, local firewood won’t cause any harm to your favorite state parks, and a lot of it burns much more efficiently than large chain store firewood.
Can You Collect Firewood at a State Park?
You can’t collect firewood at a state park because it’s prohibited to protect the land. Companies chop and cord firewood for you, so there’s no need to cut branches and logs. The local habitat is preserved for the animals. Clear cutting locations are inspected before the chopping begins, ensuring the forest is protected.
Here’s why you shouldn’t collect firewood:
- There’s more than enough firewood cut and ready at any state park. You shouldn’t have to bring wood from elsewhere because there’s more than enough where you’re headed. You can avoid all of the aforementioned issues.
- Companies choose the best locations for cutting firewood, including the best types of wood for burning. You don’t have to worry about potentially using bad-burning wood or firewood that scorches too quickly.
- Collecting firewood is often banned and occasionally illegal. Couch to Homestead claims many state parks have banned firewood collection. You’ll risk all sorts of fines and potential arrests.
- Firewood that’s collected from the park usually isn’t clean and won’t burn long enough for a campfire. It’s a waste of time and energy to collect firewood from a state park because it’s often dirty and can put off foul odors. Furthermore, it won’t burn nearly as long as local store-bought firewood.
Collecting firewood can lead to fines, legal troubles, and damage to the local environment. It might be cheaper to cut the wood from the surrounding trees, but it’s not worth the harm you can cause to yourself and the habitat. State parks are home to thousands of animals, insects, and plants that rely on nearby trees.
Do All State and National Parks Allow Fires?
Not all state and national parks allow fires, so it’s important to call or find out on the website ahead of time. Some parks require a campfire permit, while others don’t allow it during fire season. That being said, many parks let anyone burn campfires at premade fire pits with locally purchased firewood.
Some state parks don’t allow firewood burning because of fire risks, including high winds, hot temperatures, and lots of dry brush. You might need a permit. In some cases, it’s best to request information about burning fires from the state park’s website.
Campfires are always fun and relaxing, but they’re not always legal. Save yourself and the local environment by getting permission or acquiring a licensed permit.
Now that you know everything about bringing and burning firewood at state parks, you can protect your favorite camping spots without sacrificing a fun time. Getting local firewood will prevent all sorts of issues. Most of it is treated to withstand the heat, making it last longer. This process benefits you and the forest!
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